Welcome to LATINA’s Friday Film Roundup, our bi-weekly picks for the new movie releases on our radar.
Following the massive, nearly $120 million opening for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” last weekend, this Friday is a decidedly lowkey affair (probably to encourage viewers to see “Guardians” a second [or third] time before the next major release wipes the slate clean). However, that’s not to say there isn’t anything this week worth watching.
Both members of Bennifer have movies coming out this weekend, and two cast members from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” star in a pair of high-concept comedies about an unexpected wave of success that may have far-reaching consequences. Also, if you’re looking for something to do on Mother’s Day, that “Book Club” sequel is a sure bet.
Most importantly, however, this is a big weekend for Latinos both in front of and behind the camera.
“Knights of the Zodiac” (In Theaters May 12th)
Adapted from the longrunning, critically acclaimed anime, this live-action “Knights of the Zodiac” movie has some big shoes to fill. However, it’s clear that everyone involved worked as hard as they could to respect the source material while also encouraging newcomers to look into the lore even after the credits have rolled.
We had a chance to ask star Diego Tinoco, who plays Nero in the film, about his approach to connecting with fans of the original series. In terms of how he approached the character, he said, “It was important to really become an architect and to create this performance where I’m honoring the mannerisms, the behavioral patterns, the way he talks, the way he moves, and understanding the psychology of this character and his mind. Seeing where he’s coming from and why he does what he does in this film.”
When anime fans are becoming increasingly hard to please with regard to live-action adaptations of their favorite stories, films like “Knights of the Zodiac” have a lot to live up to. Tinoco said that was definitely a concern for everyone involved, but that it was important for them to find something new within the story while retaining the core elements. “Nobody goes to the theaters to rewatch the same old thing over and over again. We want to go to theaters to watch new ideas,” he said. “We really took from every bit. Whether it’s the music, the visual effects, the acting, the stunt choreography by Andy Chang. We really tried to create the best team to honor this project.”
Tinoco is also doing his best to represent Latino anime fans everywhere, saying that he was “able to represent all my Latinos. He added, “I just hope that it shines a light, for all Latino kids, that you can be a superhero in your own life.”
“Hypnotic” (In Theaters May 12th)
The latest from “Sin City ” director Robert Rodriguez comes from a script he’s been sitting on for quite some time now. He originally wrote his latest film, “Hypnotic,” some twenty years ago before deciding to bring it to life. Starring Ben Affleck and Alice Braga, the film follows a grizzled detective who gets sucked into a world of superbeings known as hypnotics. With the ability to influence anyone’s mind for any reason, hypnotics possess a power that may be too strong for the world to endure. To stop the world’s leading hypnotic from world domination, Affleck’s Danny Rourke must team up with a psychic named Diana Cruz (Braga) to uncover the truth behind the hypnotics and bring an end to the mind bending madness.
Check out our interview with writer-director Robert Rodriguez and actress Alice Braga to learn more about the film, which is Rodriguez’s best work since his instant cult classic, 2019’s “Alita: Battle Angel.”
“Book Club: The Next Chapter” (In Theaters May 12th)
Yes, this weekend is Mother’s Day. And, let’s be honest, not every mom wants to go see an anime adaptation or a movie about hypnosis starring Ben Affleck. So, for those of us who have moms with, let’s say, gentler sensibilities, “Book Club: The Next Chapter” is the way to go. I know for a fact that my own mother loves the first movie quite a bit and will most likely end up asking me to take her to the second one this Sunday. And I will do so gladly because nobody — not one of you! — is above sitting down for 90 minutes of Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen, and Candice Bergen.
“BlackBerry” (In Theaters May 12th)
Anyone who’s been watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” since its debut in 2005 knows good and well that Glenn Howerton is one hell of a dramatic actor. His performance as Dennis Reynolds is so hilarious because he’s not always playing it for laughs. Howerton understands the psychology of the character so deeply that audiences can still find some humanity in someone who is arguably one of the worst human beings on the planet. Needless to say, we’re pretty excited to see him take on a truly dramatic role in Matt Johnson’s “BlackBerry,” which follows the rise and fall of the team behind the device that revolutionized business and communication at the turn of the 21st century. Johnson is one of the most under-appreciated directors around, with some truly impressive films, like “The Dirties” and “Project Avalanche,” going completely under-the-radar. For a movie about underdogs making their way to the top…we really hope these underdogs finally start making it to the top.
“Fool’s Paradise” (In Theaters May 12th)
However, Glenn Howerton isn’t the only “Always Sunny” star with a movie coming out this weekend. Charlie Day, a fan favorite on the show, is releasing his debut feature this week, “Fool’s Paradise.” Day wrote, directed, and stars in the film, which follows a mute (played by Day) who is thrust into the spotlight after being mistaken for a popular actor (also played by Day). What follows is a Hollywood odyssey in the vein of films like the Coen Brothers’ “Hail, Caesar!” or Damien Chazelle’s recently released “Babylon.” The film boasts one of the year’s best ensembles under the direction of one of our generation’s most vital comedic voices. Long story short, we can’t wait for this one.
“The Mother” (On Netflix May 12th)
Lastly, we have Jennifer Lopez facing off against her hubby Ben Affleck’s new movie with a Netflix original movie directed by Niki Caro, who helmed 2020’s controversial “Mulan” remake. Her latest film, “The Mother,” stars Lopez as a retired assassin who is forced back into the game to protect the daughter she had to leave behind along with her previous life. The film also features fellow Latin actors Jesse Garcia and Gael García Bernal with a script by “Top Gun: Maverick” writer Peter Craig, “Straight Outta Compton” writer Andrea Berloff, and “Lovecraft Country” creator Misha Green. It seems like a pretty par-for-the-course, straight-to-streaming actioner, but Lopez is always fun to watch on-screen and there’s a lot of talent behind the camera to bring it all together.
Josef Rodriguez is a writer, filmmaker, and film critic living in New York City.